Die Shellsuit, Die!

An Alternative Music Magazine

Birmingham Academy - 16th November 2007

Alexisonfire

Birmingham Academy is an awesome venue but tonight instead of normal sweaty gig smell it reeks of hairspray.

Kids with floppy hair and tight jeans at every turn. Now, you might sense a spot of jealous in my writings (But probably not as its only words) and you’d be right because the truth is, I’m going bald.

Saosin are one of those many bands whose name I’ve heard being banded around for years but never actually listened to but tonight was my chance. Saosin certainly put on a good live show, getting the crowd riled up and singing to the heart of every girl in the audience. Saosin can best be described as Alexisonfire’s camp cousin. Souring riffs and sing-a-long choruses about not leaving you and staying by your side and all the subjects that teenage girls love fill the Academy but there’s something missing. The only 2 people on the stage who look like they are actually enjoying the music and not just there to strike a pose and eye up all the totty in the audience are the singer, who is clearly feeling every word he sings, and the drummer, who is clearly the most talented member of the band and that is by no means a pop at the rest of the band. The drummer makes the band; even if half the audience are only interested in the singer it was the drummer who impressed me. Aside from the lack of passion of the stringed members of the band, Saosin are fun to watch and easy on the ear. Nice.

Normally, a review consists of reviewing bands but I’m going to go that extra mile and give a little review of the audience. It was pretty spectacular to be honest, the male population of the Academy was like a bunch of clones. Skinny fit t-shirts and tight jeans with floppy hair. The female population where just generally pretty hot. Woof.

Finally, Alexisonfire take the stage to screams that remind of when I went to see East 17 about 10 years ago in Sheffield. My sister won the tickets off the Big Breakfast on Channel 4. Anyway, the kids love Alexisonfire. Now, as a competent and open minded reviewer but music purist it’s hard for me to give a clear and concise review of Alexisonfire so for the purpose of this task, I will provide 2 reviews from 2 different points of view but with my vocabulary and literature skillz.

Firstly, the point of view of a 16/17 year old kid who lists his favourite bands as My Bloody Valentine, Alexisonfire (Obviously) and Fall Out Boy (Or something similar, you get the picture). When the girls in the audience finally calmed down, Alexisonfire ripped though classics from all three albums with some serious accuracy and intent. Singer George getting the crowd going by asking for more and more noise and sing-a-longs. Alexis hammered the crowd with their massive sounding riffs complete with George’s screams and roars and Dallas’ heart rendering singing. Speaking of Dallas’ voice, it actually sounds better live than it does on CD.

And now from the view of a 23 year old guy who likes music from Sigur Ros to Converge and has been a fan of Alexisonfire since their sefltitled first album has saw them a few years ago. After a slightly sickening “let’s take ages to actually play a song but build this shit up loads” opening Alexisonfire went through tracks of all 3 albums but the problem tonight is that the Alexisonfire who wrote their first sefltitled classic aren’t the same Alexisonfire that are performing tonight. Everything is far too clean and precise. The lighting is extremely good but a bit cheesy. The best way to describe the overall sound is flat. The rawness captured on CD is lost live. In fact, they sound more overproduced live then they do on CD and that is massively disappointing. Lets get one thing straight, this doesn’t sound rubbish at all but it sounds extremely overdone and almost false. Having seen Alexis before and knowing that they can play live really well makes the whole experience kind of unfulfilling.

Despite the sound and whole feel of the tonight’s performance, Alexis tear their way through familiar heavy fast riffs mixed with the slower almost ambient sections that make Alexis popular and although they’ve been around for sometime now they really seem to love doing what they are doing, something that their support act lacked. 2 things stand out about Alexisonfire. Firstly, Dallas Green’s voice is incredibly good live. Secondly, the bass player’s beard is amazing.